As part of the 23 bills passed in New York City to combat heroin and opiate addiction, one effort allows police officers to now carry Naloxone, the anti-overdose medication. The cost for this program is $1.2 million dollars and paid for by the New York State attorney general’s office.
The anti-overdose program provides 19,500 Naloxone kits to patrol officers in New York City. The kits are designed to be used when the officer comes in contact with street level heroin addicts. The sky rocketing heroin and opioid use has made these overdose kits a necessity for officials.
Stanton Island First to Use Anti-Overdose Drug
Stanton Island was the first city to use these anti-overdose kits in New York, and report having saved 184 lives since the program began in 2012. Now that the anti-overdose is available for New York City, the police officers expect to save many more lives. The State Attorney General is using $5 million dollars that has been drawn from criminal and civil asset seizures to reimburse the New York City police departments that purchase naloxone.
Naloxone has been available in hospital emergency rooms for many years. The anti-overdose medication works by bumping away the opiate molecules that attach to the brain. These opiate molecules slow down breathing to fatal levels. From the year 2003 to 2010 heroin overdoses declined as older users died or went to treatment, then heroin slowly gained in popularity. The resurgence of heroin use in the 2013 epidemic is a result of prescription pain meds and other opioid drugs.
Opiate & Heroin Abuse on the Rise
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, annual deaths from opioid painkillers has been steadily increasing since the year 2000. Heroin related deaths have been on a steady increase since 2010. The high cost of opiates and the increased difficulty in obtaining them has motivated addicts to switch to heroin, which costs less but provides a similar high.
The state of New York has set a precedence for the war against Heroin and Opiate Abuse by implementing programs for officials, and bringing awareness of the epidemic to the public.
If you or someone you love is addicted to Opiates or Heroin, please seek treatment as soon as possible. Balboa Horizons 1 (866) 316-4012
Ref. New York Times